Newnan High School

Family Literacy Night connects students with reading

by Rebecca Leftwich

alt

Rebecca Leftwich

A large crowd turned out for Literacy Night at Newnan High School, where events ranged from workshops to presentations by authors, illustrators and poets.

It started with Kelli Sowerbrower’s idea for a book fair at the high school level and blossomed into the Newnan High School-hosted Community Family Literacy Night, a recent event featuring scavenger hunts, art, workshops, poetry and prizes.

“I quickly realized that high schools do not ‘do’ book fairs (but) what happened was bigger and better than I ever imagined,” said Sowerbrower, Newnan High’s literacy coordinator.

Sowerbrower said she wasn’t willing to give up on a book night for adolescents, and with the help of Kathie Vickers, Angie Markham, and Ame Whitlock, Family Literacy Night – an NHS partnership with Smokey Road and Evans middle schools – was born.

Funded by grants and local sponsors, the free event was geared toward engaging students with reading and literature. Mission accomplished, said a trio of Evans students.

“Literacy Night meant everything to me,” Denise Bray, an aspiring writer, said. “It was inspiring and gave me a chance to focus on my writing and feel connected with the authors.”

Naiya Pittman particularly enjoyed Newnan alum Tasha Jones, a slam poet who wowed audiences with her work.

“It was memorable to see so many people who love to read as well as exciting to see all of the authors and students, especially Tasha Jones,” Pittman said.

For Nikki Gray, a highlight was hearing authors’ back stories. 

“Last night was really nice when I saw all of the authors and students coming together and heard why the authors wrote their stories,” she said. “Raine Thomas based some of her books in Newnan and I liked seeing her use regular culture and place it into a fantasy book.”

Grants and donations from local businesses provided guest fees, goody bags, refreshments and photos with Atlanta Braves mascot Homer.

Workshops providing ideas for family literacy activities were a hit as well, according to co-organizer Angie Markham of Smokey Road Middle School.

“Families were excited about the types of strategies that they could incorporate into their everyday home lives,” she said. “Many attendees were truly surprised at the impact just 20 minutes of reading per day can have on you throughout your life.”

The Literacy Night committee – which included Sowerbrower, Markham, Kathie Vickers and Ame Whitlock – was pleased with the effort and already is working on ways to make next year’s event “bigger and better,” Sowerbrower said.



More Education

Teacher in Focus: Joyce McCain

By Celia Shortt celia@newnan.com Joyce McCain teaches kindergarten at Newnan Crossing Elementary School. She’s been teaching since 199 ... Read More


Coweta Public Library System launches summer reading challenge

By Celia Shortt celia@newnan.com The 2015 summer reading challenge for Coweta County public libraries begins on Tuesday, May 26. This year& ... Read More


School board elects new chairman

The Coweta County Board of Education elected at large member Frank Farmer to serve as the board’s chairman for 2015. Farmer was servin ... Read More


Board of education appoints three new principals

The Coweta County Board of Education appointed new principals for Brooks, Glanton and Welch Elementary Schools at their regular board meetin ... Read More


Teacher in Focus: Dr. Clay Hildebrand

Dr. Clay Hildebrand teaches sixth grade math at Smokey Road Middle School. He has been teaching at Smokey Road for ten years. Why did you b ... Read More

JPES students get special look inside Narnia

Fourth and fifth graders at Jefferson Parkway Elementary School (JPES) recently had the chance to learn about a popular author through the s ... Read More